1. What are different approaches for reclamation in deep water region and shallow water region?

To illustrate the different approaches adopted for reclamation in deep water and shallow water region, the following example is used:

In deepwater region, consider the seabed level is –8.5mPD. After laying of geotextiles and 1.5m thick sand blanket, the top level of sand blanket is about –7mPD. Split barges are deployed for dumping public fill to –2.5mPD. Afterwards, end dipping of public fill by trucks will be carried out up to +2.5mPD which is the designed reclamation level. Between level –2.5mPD and +2.5mPD, it is too shallow for split barges to enter the water, thus the method of end dipping is used instead.

For shallow water region, the seabed level is taken as –5.5mPD in this example. With the laying of geotextiles and 1.5m sand blanket into position, the top level of sand blanket is about –4mPD. In this case, split barges are also used for reclamation work between the level –4mPD and –2.5mPD. After that, if end dipping is used for reclamation work above –2.5mPD, then in considering the relative thin layer of fill above seabed (1.5m sand blanket + 1.5m sand blanket), it stands a high chance that mud wave would occur in seabed. Therefore, half-loaded derrick barges are employed for reclamation up to level 0mPD. With a thicker layer of public fill now, end dipping can then be used for reclamation between 0mPD and +2.5mPD.

This above reclamation sequence is just an example to demonstrate the different considerations for reclamation in deep water and shallow water region.

  1. In case mud waves occur during reclamation, what are the possible solutions to rectify the situation?

(i) Option 1 – Complete Removal of All Disturbed Mud

To remove all disturbed mud once mud waves occur is the fastest way to treat the problem. After that, filling material is used for replacing the disturbed mud. However, this option is a rather expensive option because it involves dredging of all disturbed mud and replacement of large amount of fill.

(ii) Option 2 – Accelerated consolidation of Disturbed Mud

This option involves placement of surcharging loads on top of mud waves, together with installation of band drains to accelerate the consolidation of disturbed mud. This method suffers from the drawback that sufficient long time is required for the consolidation process of mud.

(iii) Option 3 – Partial Removal of Disturbed Mud

This option is a combination of the first two options in which the top weak layer of mud is removed while the lower mud is treated with surcharging with band drain installation.

Note: Mud waves refer to excessive displacement of mud due to successive slip failure during reclamation.

  1. What is the importance of geotextiles and sand in reclamation works?

For geotextiles used in reclamation, they serve mainly the following two purposes:

  • they separate reclamation fill from marine mud;
  • they may act as reinforcement to enhance the stability of reclamation. However, the reinforcement function is still under heated debate because its performance as reinforcement depends on several factors like the directional strength of woven geotextiles and damage effect by installation of vertical band drains.

For sand:

  • it spreads the load of future public dump on top of it;
  • it acts as drainage path for dissipation of excess pore water pressure for band drain installation.
  1. Geotechnical Instrumentation is frequently employed for monitoring the condition of reclamation. Sometimes two piezometers are installed inside the same borehole. What is the reason behind this?

For standpipes, they normally contain one plastic tube between its intention is to measure water level only. However, for piezometers, they are used for measuring pore water pressure in a certain depth below ground. For instance, if there are two clayey layers below ground at different depths, a multiple piezometer including two separate piezometers may be sunk at the same borehole to determine the pore water pressure at these layers respectively. This arrangement has the advantage that it saves the cost of installation of separate boreholes for several piezometers. However, the installation of multiple piezometers within the same borehole is affected by occurrence of leakage along the pipes as suggested by Marius Tremblay (1989).

  1. What is the difference between standpipe, standpipe piezometer and piezometer?

A standpipe normally contains plastic pipes with perforated holes at the base. The annular space between the perforated tube and casing is filled with gravel or sand backfill. Under such an arrangement, standpipe is used to measure water level of a certain region.

A standpipe piezometer is a type of piezometer which measures pore water pressure at a certain level. It consists of plastic pipes without holes. The tip of the standpipe piezometer is perforated and the annular space between the tip of the piezometer and soil is filled with sand while the annular space between other parts of plastic tube and soil is filled with cement/bentonite grout to seal off water from entering the region of piezometer tip. This enables the pore water pressure in the region of piezometer tip to be measured. In essence, standpipe piezometers are installed to study the pore water pressure of a specified depth below ground. However, it suffers from the disadvantage that the response time is relatively slow in clayey soils. Reference is made to Marius Tremblay (1989).

  1. For drained reclamation, what is the significance of smear zone induced by installation of band drains?

During installation of band drains, smear zones are created in which a zone of soil surrounding the band drains are disturbed. The compressibility of surrounding soils is increased and it results in the reduction of their permeability. In fact, the surrounding soils are remoulded during the installation process and the effectiveness of band drains is

reduced. In essence, for the reduced permeability of soils around band drains, it takes longer time to complete the consolidation process.

  1. In case a road passes through a reclaimed land and an existing land, what is the main concern regarding the design of pavements?

For an existing land, it is anticipated that there will be no major settlement within the design life of pavement structures. However, for a recently reclaimed land, even with surcharging and installation of vertical drains, some settlement will still occur after the construction. If a road pavement has to be constructed connecting these two areas, special design has to be made in this transition region. In order to avoid the occurrence of differential settlement which may damage the pavement structure, a transition slab may be designed to accommodate such movement (J. S. M. Kwong (1996)).

  1. In dredged reclamation, what are the considerations in selecting between trailer suction hopper dredgers and grab dredgers?

Trailer suction hopper dredgers are vessels which remove material off the seabed through hydraulic suction by using pumps. During the dredging operation, a mixture of soil and water is transported through suction pipe to storage hoppers. Significant turbulence inside the hoppers keeps the dredged mixture in suspension and this should be minimized to enhance the material to settle swiftly prior to the process of overflowing. Trailer suction hopper dredgers are mounted with draghead or dragarm pumps which increases the dredging depth and trims down the occurrence of cavitation as suggested by John B. Herbioh (1992). This machine is limited to dredging relatively low-strength material. Moreover, they cannot be deployed in very shallow waters and instead grab dredgers should be used. However, its dredging capacity is higher than that of grab dredger and it can be mobilized in relatively deep-water region.

Trailer suction hopper dredgers are renowned for their mobility, versatility and capability to operate in unfavorable sea conditions.

  1. What are the considerations in selecting marine plants and land plants for installation of band drains?

For installation of band drains by marine plants, it must have sufficient water depth to accommodate the marine plants in the first place. However, due to the effect of tides and waves, the establishment of the position for installation of band drains and the subsequent installation works may be affected. In addition, the establishment cost of marine plants is higher than that of land plants.

For installation of band drains by land plants, difficulty may be encountered during the installation of band drains through the reclaimed layer e.g. C&D material. Land plants may take longer construction time due to the above-mentioned difficulty. Sometimes when the supply of public fill is increased suddenly, it may be preferable to place these fill immediately into position and in this situation the installation of band drains (originally installed by marine plants) is delayed so that the construction of band drains is changed to using land plants.

  1. For installation of silt curtains, why is it not desirable to design the curtain totouch the seabed?

Silt curtains are impermeable vertical barriers extending from the seawater surface to its designed depth. The curtains are held in a vertical position by the carrier float on their top and a curtain weight at their bottom. A tension cable is designed at the carrier float to resist stresses incurred by currents. Moreover, the silt curtains are anchored to the seabed to hold them in the designed configuration.

In essence, the depth of silt curtains should not be so long and touch the seabed because the bottom segment of the silt curtains would be trapped inside the newly accumulated sediment, thus resulting in sinking of the curtain. Consequently, it is difficult to remove these sunken curtains. Moreover, reversal tidal and current actions may cause the movement of bottom region of curtains which stir up the settled suspensions and induce additional turbidity.

  1. What are the functions of slip joints in blockwork seawalls?

Slip joints are joints which are formed through a complete vertical plane from the cope level to the toe level of seawalls. These joints are designed in blockwork seawalls to cater for possible differential settlements between adjacent panels of seawalls. The aggregates inside the half-round channels in slip joints allow for the vertical movements induced by differential settlement and at the same time providing aggregate interlocking forces among adjacent panels of seawalls to link the panels in one unit against the lateral earth pressure exerted on seawall.

Besides, slip joints provide a path for the relief of water pressure developed and allow the lateral movement (e.g. contraction) due to seasonal variations.

Note: For details of slip joints, reference is made to CEDD Standard Drawing No. C3008C.